Endangered Brac iguana killed

Killed iguana was featured in children’s book

For the third time in three months, an endangered rock iguana in Cayman Brac has been killed on one of the Island’s roads. 

A young female iguana, known as Little Girl, was killed around 10am Monday on South Side Road. 

The iguana had been featured as a character in a children’s book, Quest on the Marl Road, by author Kathleen Bodden-Harris, near whose home the iguana was struck and killed by a passing vehicle. 

“Little Girl was killed on the road just east of my house,” said Ms Bodden-Harris, who said the iguana was one of five that frequent the land around her home. “She died a horrible death,” she said. 

“I picked her up and her eye opened. I thought ‘My God, she’s still alive.’ I was privileged to be with her when she left. We buried her in the grotto,” said Ms Bodden-Harris, who has a grotto and labyrinth on her property. 

Ms Bodden-Harris said she has repeatedly called for speed bumps or a speed camera to be erected on the road – an area in which iguanas are known to nest and breed and along which cars and trucks regularly exceed the speed limit. 

In January this year, she organised a petition asking government officials to install speed bumps on South Side Road West between the Bat Cave and Ashton Reid Road and for a mobile speed camera to be put in place outside those areas. 

Little Girl was one of the iguanas recorded and tagged as part of a survey of rock iguanas carried out in January.  

A total of 89 iguanas had been tagged by the start of June, but three of those have been killed, including a pregnant iguana on South Side Road in April, the largest male iguana on the island, called S, who was fatally struck by a vehicle last month and now Little Girl. 

Ms Bodden-Harris said she was frustrated by the lack of action that had been taken to protect the iguanas on Cayman Brac, despite the hard work of volunteers and others interested in conserving the species. “We have all these government people and these wonderful people who have done all this work with iguanas over the past year and yet all that seems to be happening is we’re doing an inventory of how many living and dead iguanas there are. We need speed cameras and we need speed bumps,” she said. 

Bonnie Scott-Edwards, who is liaison for the iguana survey and who mans an iguana hotline to take reports of untagged or injured iguanas, said it was likely Little Girl was crossing the road to nest on the sandy side of the road by the beach. 

“There is so much development along South Side now. I have never known of iguanas crossing this road to nest before and several calls come in to the iguana hotline every day now reporting sightings along here,” she said. 

“Brackers still are mourning S and now there is sadness everywhere about Little Girl,” said Ms Scott-Edwards. 

She estimates that about 10 per cent of the Brac’s known breeding population have been killed. 

Ms Scott-Edwards said people in Cayman Brac had been calling for enforcement of the speed zones and immediate signage to be placed in strategic locations to warn drivers to slow down and watch for iguanas. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List categorises the Sister Islands Rock Iguana as critically endangered. 

A three-year species management plan, formulated during workshops in 2011 attended by representatives from the Department of Environment, National Roads Authority, Department of Agriculture, the National Trust, Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and International Reptile Conservation Foundation, includes plans for speed bumps to be erected in roadkill hot spots in Cayman Brac in 2013.  

Little Girl, called “Lil Girl” in Quest on the Marl Road, featured alongside other real-life iguanas called Sebastian and Isabel in Ms Bodden-Harris’s book, which is based on Cayman Brac. She said the iguanas are not her pets, but co-inhabitants. 

She said Little Girl would come visit her on her porch, scratching at the door to get her attention. “She liked to hang around on my deck. She came into the house once when I left the door open for the cat and it took me an hour to get her out from underneath the bed,” she recalled. 

Little Girl was one of the iguanas recorded and tagged as part of a survey of rock iguanas carried out in January.  

lil girl iguana on decking

Little Girl, who was killed by a motorist on Cayman Brac on 25 June, on Kathleen Bodden-Harris’s porch. – PHOTO: SUBMITTED
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5 COMMENTS

  1. Well maybe we need to teach the iguana’s to ride bicycles, so this way, they can avoid the traffic.

    Or, teach them to run faster. Don’t we have the worlds fastest woman. She would be a great trainer.

    Or we could ask the drivers to swerve first, ask if that was a rock with legs later.

    OR since these iguana’s love laying on the roads. Lets build square pieces of road, away from the road, just for the iguana’s to use.

    It would keep more of them off the roads if they had the same types of surfaces to lay on, away from traffic.

    Just a thought.

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  2. Firstly, big berd… you’re an idiot.

    Secondly, three in three months doesn’t look like an accident anymore. Some sick person is getting a kick out of doing this. They’re prob thriving off the publicity. Stop reporting this in the paper and set up a camera in the area. Speed bumps aren’t a bad idea either.

    Lastly, If it is an accident, you Bracers have Ju Ju Banton to thank for turning the island into a race track.

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  3. Well..technically speaking. The iguana’s are speed bumps…no?

    Ps, should I need to place sarcasm in the post, as I post something. Or would that be a waste of time, as you may not understand that even if i did 8)

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  4. I praying to God that Big Berd doesn’t work for government or Planning, but his words do have a tinge of irrationality to say the least. These are NOT PETS; they are a cause a worthy 1 at that. Reducing the speed limit will not do. We need 5 strategically placed speed bumps w/proper warning signs, we need a mobile speed camera to rotate duties in other areas, we need signage declaring the areas iguana habitats, the Conservation Law needs to be passed, enacted enforced; along with an Education Programme. That’s the ONLY recipe for successfully saving the critically endangered population of our native species.

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  5. We have the same problem on Little Cayman. We know where the female iguanas cross the road to nest. We know when they nest. We have asked for speed bumps, at least during the nesting season. There’s no where to go on Cayman Brac or Little Cayman that is so important it is worth killing a member of an endangered species for!
    Please, do something NOW!

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